NWA Men Charged With Running Email Hacking Business

Federal prosecutors in California last week charged two northwest Arkansas men with selling email passwords through a website called NeedAPassword.com.

Mark Anthony Townsend, 45, whose residences were listed as Cedarville (Crawford County) and Rogers, and Joshua Alan Tabor, 25, of Prairie Grove (Washington County), were named in separate but similar informations filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles. Unlike an indictment issued by a grand jury, an information is a criminal charge filed directly by prosecutors.

A news release issued by the FBI said Townsend and Tabor, as well as three customers of other, similar websites, are "expected to plead guilty in the coming weeks." The customers were from California, Michigan and New York.

Townsend is accused of establishing NeedAPassword.com and Tabor of assisting in its operation. According to the information filed against Tabor, the website "was in the business of obtaining passwords of victim email account submitted by a customer." Customers paid for unauthorized passwords through a Paypal account, and the charge against Townsend said NeedAPassword.com provided unauthorized passwords for more than 5,900 email addresses for various customers.

It's not clear exactly when NeedAPassword.com was operational, but Townsend is specifically accused of selling the password to the Yahoo email account of someone identified only as "J.F." on May 13 of last year, while Tabor allegedly sold the password to "C.P.'s" Google mail account in July 2011.

No phone numbers could be located for Townsend or Tabor. No defense attorneys for Townsend or Tabor are listed in the federal records.